T Nation

Dodgin’ Dadbods: A Journey Back in Time (5/3/1)


That roast meal sounds amazing


I know and now I’m on a 56g fat diet and I genuinely think between the oil, butter, heavy cream, and steak if I had the meal again I’d have to have like 0 fat the rest of the day. It’d be worth it though.


Yesterday arms day
CGBP 4x8 135, 155, 185, 205
Weighted Underhand Chins 4x8 BW, +25, +45, +25
Skulls 3x12
Kickbacks 3x20
Incline Curls 3x13
Rope Curls 3x20

Today, the dreaded Quads day
Leg Ext 3x20 110, 130, 150
Smith Front Squats heels on board 135, 155, 185, 205x10
Hack Squats close stance 2 plates 3x10
Did backwards sled drags instead of BSS, double ouch.
Ab stuff

Got some fresh tuna steaks for later, and lotsa chicken cooked up for the week.


Did chest Tuesday:

Pre exhaust cable crossovers
High Incline Smith Bench
135, 155, 185, 225, 245x5
Low Incline DB press, pronated at bottom to supinated at top
75, 80, 85, 90, 60x10
One arm Pec Deck

Back Yesterday:
Wide Neutral Grip Pulldowns superset with Wide Grip Pull-ups
4x10 / 4x5
Trap Bar Dead’s, high handles
10x275, 8x315, 6x365, 15x315
One Arm DB dead stop Rows superset with light one arm cable rows (meadows activation before every set @kd13 )
90, 95, 100x12 / 3x10
Wide Grip Cable Rows
Straight Arm Pulldowns 3x15

Conditioning, Abs, Calves
Standing Calf Raise 1-2-1 tempo
80, 120, 160, 200, 60x10

Seated Calf Raise 1-0-1 tempo
1 plate, 1+25, 2 plates x10
Superset with donkey calf raise
3x50 ouch.

Prowler Sprints alternating high handles and low bars (6” off ground), prowler+45 ~20m x10

Rope Crunches and HLR, reverse hypers and hypers, decline crunches


@robstein man…chicken breasts sliced almost in half and opened up to thin them out, in half water half chicken broth, lots of salt, garlic and pepper, covered in foil on 375 for 40-45 mins? WOAH. I’d gotten so used to steamed chicken being slightly gross and borderline smelly that when I tasted this I was blown away. Juicy, no need for a knife, and super tasty. I actually opted out of the olive oil on top of it, 1. because it didn’t need it, and 2. because I’d rather factor in the fat from a spoonful of peanut butter either before the gym or in my PWO shake.


Awesome man, so glad you like the recipe! Yeah, juicy chicken breasts are super easy that way and adds no calories. If you want to kick it up another no calorie notch, add G Hughes sugar free BBQ sauce as a marinade or use for dipping. Low cals doesn’t have to mean boring and bland. On a prep you learn how to maximize seasoning and taste to the max without adding extra cals. Necessity is the mother of all invention! Same way I came up with my pre workout cakes!

And I agree with you completely, more peanut butter is always better :slight_smile:

Keep up the great work bro!


Shoulders and Hams yesterday

95, 115, 135, 155x8 PR

Been tweaking my workouts as I find my way back into the world of hypertrophy training, and my side delts always needed LOTS of volume to grow, so instead of just the prescribed 4x10 lateral raises, I bring a fairly light band to the gym, and grab the 15’s.

Giant set of:
Lat Raises holding 15s and band handles with band under feet x10
Lat Raises with just 15s x10
Lat Raises with just band x10

Snatch Grip High Pulls 4x10 95, 115, 135, 185
superset with
Slow Upright Rows (3 second eccentric)
40, 50, 60 x 12

Face Pulls 4x15

Seated Leg Curl 4x10

SLDLS 135, 155, 185, 205 x 10

Single Leg Ham Curl Machine 50 4x15

Tomorrow is prescribed as Quads day but I’ve been much happier with doing arms first, then quads, then a rest day (like we could call conditioning rest), then starting over at chest - 2 leg days in a row seems unnecessary. I think I’ll stick to doing arms. Plus, whoever you are - you know you love arms day. It’s more of a ‘rest’ day than conditioning for me - no matter how heavy the pump or how much I sweat, it’s never as bad as prowler sprints.


@robstein so, question - what have you found to work best for chest and shoulders? I feel like my chest is coming along okay, but in terms of shoulders, despite falling in love with the BB OHP all over again after returning to 5/3/1, I genuinely feel like seated DB shoulder presses stopping just short of lockout and slow eccentrics were so much better for hypertrophy. As for chest, I give upper chest about 2/3 of the volume, just wondering if you gave lower/middle/upper even focus or was it just based on whatever was lagging most for you?


@flappinit - thanks for the tag!

Agreed completely. 5/3/1 is undoubtedly a great program to get strong. Just my thoughts, if getting bigger/hypertrophy is the goal, you’ll want a program with more volume. Time under tension is a key factor in getting bigger, and with consistency low reps, there’s not enough to maximize the potential for muscle growth. Please understanding I’m not saying you shouldn’t do any lower rep work in your program, but that there should be a balance of all rep ranges. For me as a bodybuilder, I think of low reps as 5-8, sometimes throwing in a set of 3-5 on certain exercises like squats or rack pulls.

My shoulder workouts typically start, or end (usually start) with seated DB presses that stop just short of lock out. Keep in mind that almost every exercise I do that has a potential “lock out” phase to it, I stop just short of that, to ensure I keep the tension in the desired muscle and it doesn’t transfer to my joints. A good example would be incline dumbbell press, I stop just shy of lockout to keep the tension in my chest, and not my elbows. When I’m doing lateral shoulder raises, I have a slight bend in the arms to keep the tension in the shoulder, and not the elbow. Leg press, same thing, stopping short of locking out my knees to keep tension in the quads.

If you’re looking to grow your shoulders and chest, you’ll want more time under tension, focusing more on your mind-muscle-connection, and probably more volume than you’re used to. Here are some recommendations for what a solid chest, and shoulder workout, could look like. DISCLAIMER that these are just recommendations and there are many ways to structure a workout. This is just based on the question of what I’d recommend:


  1. Heavier movement, I either start with incline bench dumbbell press, or hammer strength flat bench, in the 8-10 range, with a few sets of 5-8 at the end. Every few weeks I’ll do 5x5 instead to focus a little more on strength.
  2. Low to high cables to get a pulling exercise in for upper chest., 4x10-12
  3. Peck deck or lateral cables, 4x8-10
  4. Flat press or incline press (whichever I didn’t do for my first exercise), 4x5-8
  5. High to low cables for outer/lower chest, 3-4x 10-12


  1. Seated dumbbell presses - 4x8-10, once in a while I’ll do 5x5 but not often as I’m trying to avoid any potential injuries or surgeries down the road I could have avoided. Truthfully, the shoulders are not huge muscles, and I’m not competing in OHP, so I see no point in trying to press sets of 1,2 or 3 reps. I want to get stronger, yes, but also want to be smart about it. Shoulder surgery is one of the most common, and I want to be smart.
  2. DB front or lateral raises - 4x8-10
  3. Reverse Pec Deck - 4x10-12
  4. Bent over raises (again for rear delts) - 4x10-12
  5. 6 point raises, or some kind of intense super-set finisher. I also like seated lateral raises into a barbell overhead press, with a weight that I can do 8-10 reps after my lateral raises.

When I first started training I followed solid programs from T-Nation that gave equal attention to everything. Once I got into competition, after the first year, I was really able to see what I wanted to bring up to have a more aesthetically pleasing physique. For me, it was shoulders and arms, and better leg definition. So, I hit shoulders twice a week for 6 months, and arms twice a week throughout the entire year. I also divided my leg workouts and hit quads one day and hams another. I still wanted to improve chest and back of course, but they were strong points compared to shoulders and arms needed to come up to even out my upper body for the stage. The adjustment in frequency was extremely helpful for me and definitely accomplished the goal of equalizing those body parts. Always striving for improvements still!

Just to give some final thoughts - what will work “best” depends entirely on your goal. So, what is your primary goal? If gaining muscle mass and looking more like a bodybuilder is your goal, then you need to prioritize your training program to accomplish that. You can absolutely continue to get stronger while doing this. Obviously nutrition needs to play a role as well.

If your primary goal is to complete 5/3/1, or get really strong in those specific movements, your program should be focused towards that goal.

Hope this helps!


I started this log with a focus on hypertrophy, but realized that after injuries and time away from the gym, my strength had all but disappeared, so I spent a few months on strength progression, and now that I’m back in the 2 plate bench, 3 plate squat and 4 plate deadlift (+ a few pounds on each) range and feeling healthy, I’m realizing that I do want to stay healthy and look good. I’ve even been considering competing - at which point I’ll hire a coach - but for now it’s getting back to the aesthetic side of things. I see a ton of strong people that don’t look good, and this gives me something to work towards that won’t end with my joints and back being further destroyed.

Since starting this program, the only 5x5 work I’ve done has been in chest as the program prescribes, and all reps have been real slow. I’ve definitely been locking out more often than not though, so I’ll maximize the TUT from here on out, and I think I’ll do some extra chest work on my shoulder day to bring it out. Appreciate all the advice!


Arm day

CGBP 3 second eccentric, just short of lockout
135, 155, 185 x8, 135 with band x15

Alternating DB Curl
35s, 40s, 45s x8, drop set of 30, 20, 15, band curls all to failure

PJR Pullovers superset with band Pulldowns
50 3x12 / 3x20

Close Grip Push-ups

One arm cable preachers

BB 21s
45, 55, 60

Some extra side delt work and some walking


I now consider 8 reps to be high reps and I hate those sets. I can’t wait to get back to 5’s next week.


In your program, 8 IS high reps and it probably sucks.

Tomorrow I have ass to grass heels elevated front squats on the smith machine with heels like 3” apart for 10 reps each is tomorrow, and it’s just the most miserable thing ever, especially after pre-exhaust on the leg extension machine for 3 sets of 20. I don’t understand why after splitting up my legs only doing half of my leg hurts me so much more than doing both. I hope it’s just that I’m not used to it because quads day makes me want to curl up and die.


Yeah, that sounds pretty awful. There’s really no good leg workout. A good workout just hurts. But it sure is invigorating when you survive it and stumble out of the gym on Jell-O legs!


Monday Quads
Leg ext 3x20 130, 150, 170
Smith Front Squats 4x10 135, 185, 225, 225
BSS with 40s 3x15
Reverse sled drags 4x25m

Tuesday Chest and Calves
Crossovers 3x20
Incline DB Press 4x8 80, 90, 95, 100 got 4 on the 100s but felt good about it nonetheless
High incline smith press, no lockout and slow eccentric 3x15 135, 185, 155
Cable Crossover 5x20 each set at a different angle

Donkey calf machine, seated calf raise, standing calf raise

Yesterday Conditioning
Prowler sprints 10x25m with 45 on the prowler.
Then I got stupid. Hooked up the harness to the prowler, added 2 plates for a total of 3 plates on it and did 2 25m bear crawls dragging it behind me.
Finished with a lot of rope crunches and HLRs. Today’s back.


Back day
Warmup hypers x25
Close Grip Pulldowns
4x10 only a couple pins away from the whole stack, with good slow form, and the last set I backed WAY down and did 1.5’s for all 10. Hurt like hell.
Trap Deads Warmup 135x5, 225x3, 275x2
315 3x8, 225 1x20
Dead Stop One-Arm DB Rows
100 3x8 superset with one arm cable rows 3x10, light but focusing on contraction.
Wide Grip Cable Rows 3x15 superset with Straight Arm Rope Pulldowns 3x15
Some curls while I was waiting for my wife to finish her obligatory cardio.


Yesterday Shoulders and Hams

DB shoulder press 4x10
50s, 60s, 65s, 40s 1.5’s

DB Lateral Raise
20s, 25s, 25s, 25s

Farmers Carries 3x
Grabbed the 100s and walked a stupidly long distance with them. Honestly I should have brought my straps, it’s a good thing my grip is good.

Upright Rows, Face Pulls, Cable lateral raises

Roman chair back extension x20
Superset with SLDLs
135, 155, 185, 185 x10

Seated Leg curl 4x10
Single Leg Plate Loaded Curl 3x15

My diet has been on point and my wife and I have cut out drinking, but last night my wife gets a little bottle of vodka and some diet soda and I had 1, then 1 turned into like 5 by the end of the night and my long hiatus from drinking has destroyed any tolerance I had, so I woke up with a blistering hangover. Like a dizzy, head splitting, painful hangover.

So what did I do? I chugged a shit ton of water, took a preworkout, and went to the gym for a conditioning day. I did 10 prowler sprints, which literally almost killed me, and then calves, and then chugged more water and went to sit in the sauna for 15 mins. Got my wife from the cardio machines (she was hungover too and couldn’t handle the prowler), and the kids from the gym daycare and drove straight to this place that makes organic grass fed burgers on whole wheat buns (got some guacamole on mine) and slammed a burger while drinking a lite beer. Back to not drinking for sure, but pro tip: if you’re hungover and can physically make it to the gym, do conditioning, sit in a sauna, then eat a burger while drinking a beer and you’ll feel all better. Straight up, I don’t feel remotely hungover anymore. Just guilty about ruining my recovery from Friday’s workout, but it’s all good - even calculated the vodka into today’s calories and dropped my carb intake a bit. I’m so used to drinking one or two drinks a night that it’s weird to be hard on myself about something so trivial but not drinking has made a huge difference in my physique and how I feel already so I’m gonna stick with it.


I should probably try this…


Pipes day

Shoulder felt a little funky today so instead of heavy sets of 8 I did sets of 20. Was tougher than usual but arms felt great.
4x20 115, 135, 155, 95

3x12 BW slow negatives and band curls in between every set

PJR Pullovers
3x15 with a 60

One arm cable Pulldowns 3x10 superset with band tri ext

Hammer Curls
3x8 45s, 50s, 55s


Then did lateral raises, got 50 in 3 sets, 25-15-10, with the 20s.

Had to rush since the gym daycare closes at 1 and we got a really late start today.


Sleeve busting workout right there. I might do some of those chinup negatives today, good idea for hitting them biceps hard.